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    October 7, 2015
Past Issues  

Beware of risks involved in serving as a director of a corporate client

Attorneys who are asked to serve on the boards of organizations that are also their clients should be extra cautious about avoiding risks to themselves, their firms and their clients.

A whitepaper created by the lawyers who work for CNA to provide risk management and loss prevention services to attorneys insured by the ISBA’s endorsed professional liability insurance provider, Lockton Affinity, LLC, outlines six risks that lawyer-directors must identify and mitigate. It also presents four items to consider in determining whether a conflict of interest exists. And, it concludes with risk control policies that lawyer-directors should put in place to manage risks.

Among the risk control policies that lawyer-directors should put into place are drafting a memorandum to the organization’s board outlining the potential risks of having a lawyer-director on the board, doing whatever is necessary to protect attorney-client privileged communications and documents, and recusing himself/herself from all decisions and votes that may involve a conflict of interest or other ethical considerations.

To read the entire paper, click here. For more information, contact Mike Schrandt, senior account manager, Lockton Affinity, LLC; Phone: 800-679-7154; Fax: 913-652-4682; Email:

ISBA Rural Practice Committee seeks attorneys willing to hire summer clerks, full-time associates in 2016

The ISBA’s Rural Practice Committee is gearing up for the summer of 2016, and is recruiting rural attorneys who would be willing to hire a law student for a summer clerkship, or a graduate for a full-time associate position.

In the five years since the committee was created by Past President Frank Carroll, the number of students interested in rural practice has historically exceeded the number of attorneys willing to hire. Last year, for example, slightly more than 60 students expressed an interest in rural practice, but only about 30 attorneys signed up to hire.

The push to match rural Iowa attorneys and students has become more urgent in light of the issues other states, particularly Nebraska and South Dakota, have experienced in the last few years, according to Phil Garland, chair of the committee. Those states have some rural counties with no attorneys. This has created a difficult situation when courts need to appoint attorneys to defend individuals charged in a criminal matter, or when towns need a city attorney. It has also created a significant cost when courts or towns have to bring in attorneys from miles away.

According to the latest analysis of ISBA membership statistics, approximately 600 actively practicing lawyers in rural counties are 60-plus years of age. Of those, 150 are 70-plus years old and still actively practicing.

"If we can help these senior bar members make a smooth transition into retirement knowing that the firms they worked so many years to create will continue, we will be doing them, their successors and the future of the legal profession in Iowa a great service,” Garland said. To indicate your interest in hiring a student next summer, please contact Garland at; phone: 641-923-3792, or Steve Boeckman, staff liaison to the committee, at; phone: 515-490-2279.

Visitation and funeral services for Rand Wonio to be held tonight, tomorrow

Visitation for Davenport attorney Rand Wonio, who died Saturday, will be held from 4-7 p.m. this evening at the Halligan-McCabe-DeVries Funeral Home in downtown Davenport, Iowa. Funeral services and a Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 a.m., tomorrow (Oct. 8) at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church, 916 E. Rusholme St. in Davenport. (An obituary is available here.)

A partner at Lane & Waterman LLP in Davenport, Wonio was active in the Iowa legal profession and his community. Among his many activities professionally and as a civic volunteer, he was a past president and board member of the Iowa Academy of Trial Lawyers, and past president and coach of the Davenport East Pony League. He was also a basketball official for the Iowa High School Athletic Association, the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Association and the Illinois High School Association.

Recently the city of Davenport honored him for his longtime service to youth sports by naming a ball diamond after him. The Quad-City Times published an article about the honor in mid-May. Click here to read the article.


Environmental Law CLE to feature speakers from EPA, IDNR

The 2015 Environmental Law Seminar will take place Friday, Oct. 23, at The Iowa State Bar Association headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa. Speakers include the director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the director of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Water, Wetlands and Pesticides Division for EPA Region 7.

The seminar begins at 9:00 a.m. with an update from the regional counsel for the EPA on ethics, and ends at 4:30 p.m. Lunch is provided with registration. The seminar is approved for 6.50 state hours of CLE credit, including one hour of ethics CLE credit, and three hours of federal CLE credit.

For more information about the seminar and for online registration, click
here. A $50 late fee will be added to the registration fee for registrations made thereafter Oct 22. Individuals with questions may contact the ISBA CLE Department at or 515-697-7874.

Celebrate pro bono month, share your experience

This year, the American Bar Association is introducing a daylong event, "And Justice for All: An ABA Day of Service.” The event takes place on Oct. 30 as a part of the ABA’s seventh annual, weeklong National Celebration of Pro Bono, Oct. 25–31, and was designed to provide an opportunity for the national organization to highlight the efforts of local legal organizations.

To learn more about the ABA’s inaugural day of service event, click here. The ISBA’s editorial team welcomes information from Iowa attorneys and law students who are participating in pro bono celebrations and service opportunities across the state and throughout the world. Please share information about your pro bono efforts this month by emailing

Judges needed for regional moot court competition at UI College of Law

Judges are needed for oral arguments at the 2015 American Collegiate Moot Court Association’s Upper Midwest Regional Moot Court Tournament, a national advocacy competition. The University of Iowa College of Law and Loras College are partnering to host the ACMCA’s undergraduate regional competition Nov. 6-7 in Iowa City, Iowa.

Judges are needed for the following rounds:

  • Nov. 6 – Round 1: 2-3 p.m. (4 judges needed)
  • Nov. 6 – Round 2: 3:15 – 4:15 p.m. (6 judges needed)
  • Nov. 6 – Round 3: 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. (6 judges needed)
  • Nov. 6 – Round 4: 5:45 – 6:45 p.m. (14 judges needed)
  • Nov. 7 – Elimination Round 1: 8:30 – 9:30 a.m. (5 judges needed)

For more information about the regional competition at the University of Iowa College of Law, click here. Individuals interested in serving as judges may contact Jill De Young at

Supreme Court justices to visit Newton-area schools

The Iowa Supreme Court announced yesterday that the seven justices will each visit a school in the Newton, Iowa, area on Oct. 15. The school visits follow oral arguments the justices will hear on the case Hutchison et al. v Warren County Board of Supervisors, et al. at 7 p.m. the day before in the Newton High School Center for Performance, 800 East 4th Street South in Newton.

A list of the schools and the justice who will be visiting each one, as well as the time of each visit, can be found here.


In Other News ...

Grassley, other senators call for sentencing changes

U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley is among those sponsoring legislation aimed at recalibrating prison sentences for certain drug offenders. Grassley appeared at a Washington news conference today with Senators from both parties. He called the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015 a significant change in how the courts treat lower-level drug crimes.

Iowa Public Radio

Program aims to reconnect dads to kids

Aaron Rodriguez is hoping to gain custody of his three children soon — and when he does, he said, he knows he’ll be a better dad. Rodriguez — who has been in jail and grew up with a father who had been incarcerated — has recently learned to compromise, to accommodate others, to be less selfish and to make sacrifices for family, he said. For these lessons, the 35-year-old Des Moines man credits the YMCA of Greater Des Moines’ Fatherhood Initiative, a 12-week program that aims to bring fathers back into the lives of their children.

The Des Moines Register

Campaign finance law stands

A judge is upholding an Iowa law that requires the boards of corporations and labor unions to approve any money they spend to influence elections. U.S. District Judge Robert Pratt ruled Monday the board-approval requirement does not violate the right to free association or illegally restrain speech. He says the requirement ensures the integrity of the political system by letting the public know the spending is backed by the group and not "just an individual with access" to its bank account. Iowa lawmakers passed the requirement after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that corporations and unions can spend money directly from their own treasuries to influence campaigns. Pratt's ruling dismisses a long running lawsuit filed by the Iowa Right to Life Committee, which argued the requirement was unconstitutional.

KGAN-2TV/Associated Press

The Iowa Lawyer Weekly is an electronic newsletter published every Wednesday. Please submit comments, letters to the editor, articles, or photos, to Contact information should be included with submissions. The ISBA reserves the right to refuse any submission, but will take all submissions into consideration for future publication.



ISBA members who have been admitted to the bar for five or fewer years may view any, or all, of the ISBA’s on-demand video courses free. This member benefit is designed to help young attorneys gain knowledge and learn from the experiences of presenters who have insights into specific areas of the law.

There are nearly 30 on-demand video courses listed on the ISBA website. All qualify for varying levels of CLE credit that may be applied to the annual 15-hour-per-year requirement. However, the Iowa Supreme Court limits the number of CLE hours that can be obtained from on-demand video courses to six hours in a year.

To view the ISBA’s on-demand catalog listing all courses available, click here.

See more ISBA member benefits here



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